Budget negotiators meet to hammer out final version of 12 remaining budget bills. At center of table, l-r, are Senate Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, and House Budget Chair Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood.
House and Senate budget negotiators have finalized the 12 remaining bills that make up Missouri's state budget for Fiscal Year 2015.
Both sides signed off on increasing funding for K-12 schools by $114.8 million. If Gov. Jay Nixon's rosier revenue projections hold true, school spending would get a $278 million spending hike. Higher education would increase by $43 million, about 5 percent. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, chairs the House Budget Committee. He said they also put money in next year's budget to help finance a new state mental hospital at Fulton.
The Missouri House has passed all 13 budget bills with an estimated $26.6 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins July 1.
During Thursday's round of budget votes, House Democrats began sharply criticizing this year's budget writing process. Along with Gov. Jay Nixon, they disagree with House Republicans about how much revenue they think the state will take in. State Rep. Margo McNeil, D-Hazelwood, accused GOP leaders of crafting an unnecessarily low budget.
The Missouri House has given first-round approval to next year's state budget -- after spending most of Tuesday on amendments to the FY 2015 budget, including two attempts to expand Medicaid. Both failed, and both were sponsored by state Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur.
House budget writers have passed Missouri's state budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins July 1.
The roughly $28 billion spending plan still includes a funding increase for the state's K-12 schools, which would be around $122 million if projections by House and Senate Republican leaders turn out to be correct. If Gov. Jay Nixon's rosier revenue picture turns out to be correct, then K-12 spending would increase by $278 million.